Spring 2019
Volume 8 Issue 1

A Message from the Directors

Dear DRC Alums and Friends,

We are pleased to send the latest DRC Dispatch! You’ll see that the last few months have been eventful with research, outreach and engagement activities, visitors, and the enthusiastic work of our students.

We start, however, noting a great loss to the Center and to the disaster research community. DRC founder and legend in the disaster field - Professor Emeritus Russell Dynes - passed away earlier this year. The quintessential scholar, he was active in thinking, research, and writing for many years after his “retirement.” He was a treasured friend, colleague, and mentor to generations of students who went on to their own successful careers in disaster science, whether in academia, government, or the private sector. We will miss him.

Almost a year ago, we started working with Professor Dynes and his family on a fund in his honor, and the fund is now active. The Dr. Russell R. Dynes Fund for International Initiatives in Disaster Research will support a variety of activities that emphasize international activities and connections. Given his longstanding interest in international disaster research, and his many international experiences as researcher and teacher, this fund will celebrate things he thought were important.

As we note this tremendous loss, the legacy of Russell Dynes and DRC cofounder E.L. Quarantelli live on through the many exciting initiatives underway. Not the least of which - DRC is expanding!

We have been happy to welcome new faculty. In Fall, 2018, Dr. Jennifer Horney joined the College of Health Sciences as director of its new epidemiology program, and she is now a core faculty member of the Disaster Research Center. Two social scientists will join DRC in the fall of 2019. Dr. A.R. Siders joins us from Harvard University Center for the Environment, where she serves as an environmental fellow. She will have her faculty appointment in the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration and the Department of Geography, focusing on climate change adaptation. Dr. Sarah DeYoung, who is an assistant professor at the University of Georgia's Institute for Disaster Management, will be in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. Soon, we will advertise for two more positions, in civil engineering, and in crisis informatics, so please check the DRC website for updates. We will send out a DRC note when the ad is posted.

These new faculty will help maintain and expand DRC's capacity for interdisciplinary research, and also bolster several programs at UD through new courses in such areas as public health, climate change adaptation and other areas.

Please scroll through the rest of the dispatch to see what else is going on. As always, let us hear from you, and feel free to reach out by email.

Jim Kendra and Tricia Wachtendorf

New Horizons in Disaster Research


Faculty Spotlight:
Rachel Davidson, Core Faculty

Congratulations to DRC core faculty Rachel Davidson on being selected by the American Society of Civil Engineer's Infrastructure Resilience Division for the 2019 Charles Martin Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Award for “outstanding contributions to the development of probabilistic methods and approaches for earthquake hazard modeling and regional risk assessment and management, as well as providing leadership in lifeline earthquake engineering research and teaching.” The award will be given in October at the society's annual meeting.

E.L. Quarantelli Resource Collection


Sneak Peek: The William A. Anderson Collection

Coming Soon to the E.L. Quarantelli Resource Collection!

Collection staff recently traveled to the home of Norma Doneghy Anderson in Silver Spring, Maryland to collect the professional papers of the late Dr. William A. Anderson. This treasure-trove of disaster research and information includes draft manuscripts, raw data, working files, notes, and items collected from Dr. Anderson’s travels to disaster sites around the world. Along with these valuable original source materials, a generous donation of disaster-related books and published works will be added to the current holdings of the resource collection.

We are also pleased to announce that Dr. Anderson’s papers will serve as the cornerstone of a new repository of disaster research materials produced by minority scholars and for the benefit of underrepresented communities. Planning is underway for this exciting addition to the resource collection, and more information will be available in the coming months! Dr. Anderson’s papers are currently being processed for acquisition and a finding aid will be made available on the E.L. Quarantelli Resource Collection page of the DRC website as materials become available. in the meantime, please direct any questions or comments to

Visit DRC


DRC Welcomes Visiting Scholars

Vasko Popovski is Fulbright Visiting Scholar from the Republic of North Macedonia and is a Ph.D. student at the Institute of Security, Defense and Peace (the University of St. Cyril and Methodius - Skopje). Since his arrival in September 2018, Popovski has continued his doctoral research on societal resilience to crisis and disasters. His research focuses on crisis management on a global, regional and national level, understanding resilience and uncertainty including the use of foresight methodologies and tools, and the establishment of a model of a resilient society. Professionally, he is an international consultant on disaster risk management and urban resilience with more than 12 years of experience throughout Europe, the Arab States, and Central Asia. 

Maggie (Shaoqiong) Xia is a current Visiting Scholar from China. She has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Sun Yat-Sen University and an M.A. in Sociology from Nanjing University. Dr. Xia has used her time at DRC to further her comparative research, specifically looking at indicators of recovery (authority, governance, funding resources, risk perception, etc.) that could provide a system-wide view.

Interested in visiting the Disaster Research Center at UD? Click here for more information about the visiting scholar program and apply to be a DRC Visiting Scholar in the academic year 2019-2020. 

Publications & Presentations


Disaster Research and the Second Environmental Crisis: Assessing the Challenges Ahead

Edited by James Kendra, Scott G. Knowles, and Tricia Wachtendorf

The 50th anniversary of the Disaster Research Center of the University of Delaware provoked a discussion of the field’s background, its accomplishments, and its future directions. Participants representing many disciplines brought new methods to bear on perennial problems relevant to effective disaster management and policy formation.  However, new concerns were raised, stemming from the fact that we live today in a globally unfolding environmental crisis every bit as pressing and worrisome as that of the 1960s when the Disaster Research center was founded.  This volume brings together ideas of participants from that workshop as well as other contributors. Topics include the history and evolution of disaster research, innovations in disaster management, disaster policy, and ethical considerations of disaster research.  Readers interested in science and technology, public policy, community action, and the evolution of the social sciences will find much of interest in this collection. Now available from Springer & on Amazon!  If your university has a subscription with SpringerLink, you may be able to download a copy of the book for free.

Student Achievements


Student Spotlight: Flavio Lopes Ribeiro, Ph.D., Disaster Science & Management

Flavio Lopes Ribeiro, 2019 DISA Ph.D. graduate, produced a short documentary film entitled "Holding Water," which brings to life the human side of his dissertation research. The documentary depicts the positive and negative impacts of the São Francisco Inter-Basin Water Transfer, the biggest water infrastructure in Latin America. This mega-infrastructure project was designed to provide water security for more than 12 million people living in one of the poorest and driest regions of Brazil. Through this documentary, Ribeiro hopes to give a voice to the local population impacted by the water transfer and encourage viewers to consider the political or social issues that facilitate or hinder people's access to safe drinking water. Watch the documentary below.

"Holding Water" by Flavio Lopes Ribeiro

IAEM@UD Student Chapter

IAEM@UD kicked off the spring semester with the election of a new board. Please welcome President, Aimee Mankins, Vice-President, Michelle Woody, Secretary, Roni Fraser, and Treasurer, Michael Michaud. IAEM@UD hosted a number of speakers, organized a field trip to DEMA, kicked off fundraisers, and volunteered with the Red Cross this semester. A highlight for the students: hosting the University of Delaware Emergency Manager, Mark Seifert and learning how he prepares the campus for all types of emergency situations. The chapter also introduced a weekly disaster podcast recommendation email. Finally, the board is gearing up for an exciting fall semester with plans to expand our membership, host a NWS SKYWARN training, and visit experts in the field in NYC, just to give a preview. To see what we else are up to and to check out all of our podcast recommendations, visit our website.

Successful Dissertation & Thesis Defenses

The following DRC students successfully defended their dissertations or theses. Congratulations!

  • Rachel Chiquoine: Dissertation entitled "Travel Behaviors during a Public Health Biological Emergency Requiring Points of Dispensing."
  • Flavio Lopes Ribeiro: Dissertation entitled "The Social Impact of Technology and Mega-infrastructures to Mitigate Drought: A Case Study of Changes in Social Capital Associated with the SAO Francisco Inter-Basin Water Transfer in the Semiarid Region of Brazil."
  • Dong Wang: Dissertation entitled "A Computational Framework to Support Government Decision-Making in Regional Hurricane Risk Management." 
  • Kun Yang: Dissertation entitled "Hurricane Evacuation Modeling: Improvement and Application of An Integrated Scenario-based Evacuation Framework."
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